As I am building this class for next year I am settling in on the core game mechanic being the review game that pits factions or stables against each other in quick matches. The in ring action though is only a fraction of what happens in a pro wrestling show. The most important part of the show is actually The Promo.
Promos, or promotional interviews, are what give the action in the ring emotional heft. No one would care that this over-muscled gladiators are beating each other up. At its core the promo is the wrestler explaining things – why they deserve a title shot, why they are not being used correctly, comparing themselves to the opponent, why the other guy is a loser. The better the promo the better the wrestler “gets over” (good guy) or “gets heat” (bad guy) but in either case the wrestler gets more fans.
For the classroom, I think there is an analogy to be made. Promos are explaining things and, in class, this is the core of preparing for assessments. The first step is “training” or learning the content but that is a post for another day. After training though the students will do promo activities to explain what they learned.
My current standards have content arranged into 6 history skill based sections – comparison, causation, periodization, context, continuity and change, and evidence. Promos will be challenges arranged like quest activities in these 6 categories. Students can earn fans but will also be required to complete a certain number of promos in a semester. The innovation will be that they will earn a Standards Based Grade (1 – 4) in the promo area. If they get at least a 3 they will get a badge for that Promo category. They can earn bonus grade points and more fans if they get a 4. They will also be able to redo promos as many times as they want until they demonstrate the skill at the level they are happy with. Well, they can’t redo the exact promo but they can attempt the same skill badge with different content as often as they would like using the feedback from the previous attempts. For example, they could get a level 2 on a promo comparing the impact of geography on the North and South but retry the comparison promo with the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.
The promo skills lend themselves to traditional written practice like essay writing but my intention is to allow students to create in such a way that best suited their skills. I am thinking of my student this year that was a fabulous artist but hated writing anything longer than a thought bubble. When we compared Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover by creating tattoos that represented their beliefs he was by far the most interesting submission. If it was a 5×5 essay he wouldn’t have even wrote an intro.
To accomplish the promo assessment I am going to borrow from my Standards Based Grading research from past years. A rubric will be provided in a 4 point scale. Along with the rubric plenty of feedback will be provided. At the moment I hope to have daily conferences with students as the complete the promo assignments.
How all of this will mesh, between the training, promos, and matches is still in the fuzzy stage. As it clears up I will follow up here.